- The wielder is immune to Ground-type moves.
Level 100 Statistics (see level 5, 50, 100)
Gengar is one of only two famed OU veterans that have been OU for all five generations, the other being Starmie. It owes this to its excellent Special Attack and Speed stats, immunities to Ground-, Normal-, and Fighting-type attacks and to the poison status, as well as a concise movepool that grew with each passing generation. This generation, the only thing it gained was a 100% accurate Disable, as well as Dream World-exclusive competition from Chandelure. Gengar is now perhaps best known for its SubDisable set, with which it can dismantle many Fighting-types, be they the old favorites Lucario and Infernape, or new introductions such as Terrakion and Conkeldurr. In Dream World, however, Gengar's Pursuit weakness is compounded by its ability to be trapped and OHKOed by Choice Scarf Chandelure if it isn't wielding a Choice Scarf itself. Both these threats cripple Gengar, but it is still very useful in the Dream World metagame.
This set is one of the most common for Gengar in BW, and for good reason. It can put a stop to many slower Pokemon, including almost every Fighting-type in the game; the one notable exception is Scrafty, who commonly has both Crunch and Ice Punch to hit Gengar with. Substitute blocks status and acts as a pseudo-Protect against slower opponents, allowing you to scout their move and then Disable it. It also blocks Leech Seed and Thunder Wave, and eases prediction if the opponent should switch out. Disable is the crux of the set, neutering anything that has only one move capable of hitting Gengar and forcing Choice-locked Pokemon to switch. With hazards on the field, the immense amount of switching this set causes quickly whittles down the opponent's team.
Shadow Ball is required to prevent Gengar from becoming Taunt bait, against opponents such as Jellicent and Deoxys-S. The last slot has two main options: Focus Blast puts a more offensive spin on the set, by preventing Steel-types—who are immune to Toxic Spikes—from walling Gengar. Alternatively, Pain Split gives Gengar some more longevity. Neither option can defeat Chansey, but as Chansey can do literally nothing to Gengar when the latter is hiding behind a Substitute, this is mitigated somewhat.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Gengar's excellent offensive stats also allow it to successfully run a Choice Scarf set, with the Speed boost of Choice Scarf allowing it to dash past everything up to and including +2 Adamant Dragon Dance Dragonite. Shadow Ball is the obvious STAB move of choice, as it allows Gengar to surprise the dreaded Chandelure and OHKO it before it can even move. Focus Blast is the next most important move, granting Gengar perfect neutral coverage and the ability to hit Tyranitar, Chansey, and Excadrill for super effective damage. Unfortunately, Gengar doesn't even come close to scoring a 2HKO on Chansey or Blissey with Focus Blast, and also misses the OHKO on specially defensive variants of Tyranitar, so a strong physical Fighting-type, such as Terrakion, is an excellent partner.
Trick is an excellent move in Gengar's arsenal and is its only true weapon against Chansey and other powerful special walls. By handing them an unwanted Choice Scarf, they are crippled for the rest of the match and become easy setup bait for the correct Pokemon. The final slot is a toss-up since Gengar already boasts perfect coverage with its first two attacks. Hidden Power Fire seems redundant with Focus Blast in Gengar's repertoire, but Gengar can use it to ambush and destroy Choice Scarf Genesect, while achieving a slightly more powerful and much more accurate hit on Ferrothorn. Hidden Power Ice can OHKO Dragonite if Multiscale is broken, and also hits Garchomp and Salamence for 4x super effective damage. Finally, Thunderbolt allows Gengar to strike Water-type foes for more damage than Shadow Ball. While this comes in especially handy against rain teams, it is usually a lesser option compared to Gengar's other moves.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
This set focuses less on team support and hit-and-run tactics, and instead tries to clean up on its own. Life Orb Gengar is a fantastic late-game sweeper, especially after priority users such as Scizor are removed. Shadow Ball is on the set as it is Gengar's best STAB option, while Focus Blast gives it all-important perfect offensive coverage in two moves, and helps it to get past most Steel-types that resist Shadow Ball, such as Ferrothorn and Skarmory, who are both 2HKOed with Stealth Rock. With the Life Orb boost, Latios is now always OHKOed by Shadow Ball even before Stealth Rock, while 252/252+ Tyranitar has an excellent chance to be OHKOed by Focus Blast with Stealth Rock.
The last two slots largely consist of filler options, which can be changed to suit your team's needs. Thunderbolt is excellent for achieving the OHKO on Skarmory with Stealth Rock, as well as hitting Water-types not named Jellicent or Slowbro harder than Shadow Ball. For example, the standard 248/8 Vaporeon is never 2HKOed by Shadow Ball, but Thunderbolt always KOes it even without hazards. Hidden Power Fire knocks out Scizor, Forretress, and Genesect in one hit, and Ferrothorn in two. It does, however, lower Gengar's Speed IV by one point, causing it to always be outsped by dangerous threats such as Latios and opposing Gengar. Hidden Power Ice stops Dragon-types cold, OHKOing even 252/252+ Dragonite after Stealth Rock damage 100% of the time. Pain Split allows Gengar to heal off some of the Life Orb damage it has accrued if you feel the first three slots provide enough coverage.
Team Options & Additional Comments >>>
Gengar's competitive movepool isn't very large, and most of its usable options are already listed. It gets Hypnosis and Will-O-Wisp to inflict status, but neither move is very accurate, and both are better left to bulkier Pokemon that can afford to miss. Focus Punch was an option on Gengar sets in past generations as a way to defeat Blissey and Chansey, but now that Explosion has been nerfed, running a physical move on Gengar is not recommended at all due to its awful Attack stat. Taunt can be used on the SubDisable set over Focus Blast or Pain Split to stop Gengar from being setup bait against Pokemon it cannot touch, such as Scrafty. Energy Ball hits Water / Ground types where Thunderbolt can't, but hits virtually all other Water-types for less damage. A lead set with Focus Sash and Destiny Bond is almost guaranteed a KO, but is useless if it is not in the lead spot and enemy hazards go up.
Checks and Counters
Gengar boasts excellent coverage and a very short list of counters, but as it is weak to Pursuit and can be annihilated by Choice Scarf Chandelure, it can still find it hard to stick around. Scizor is the Pursuit user that bothers Gengar the most, as it plays a deadly mindgame with Gengar that the latter can rarely win: Bullet Punch OHKOes Gengar if it stays in, and Pursuit OHKOes if it switches out. Only if Gengar is carrying Hidden Power Fire and is gutsy enough to use it on a predicted Pursuit can it bring down Scizor. Tyranitar, on the other hand, fears Focus Blast, but as long as it is running enough Special Defense or the move misses, it can OHKO with Pursuit regardless of whether Gengar stays in or not. Choice Scarf Chandelure, of course, can trap and pick off any variant not carrying a Choice Scarf of its own. In a pinch, Latios can survive one non-Life Orb Shadow Ball and banish Gengar from existence with either Draco Meteor or Psyshock. Choice Scarf users in general give Gengar issues, as it is too frail to take a hit from Pokemon such as Terrakion, Garchomp, and other powerful Pokemon it would normally outspeed.